Prince Henry historic tower clock back on track

Media release | 2 November 2021

A 143-year-old tower clock has been returned to working order after years of being frozen in time as part of a $1.13 million NSW Government upgrade to the former Prince Henry hospital site at Little Bay.

The tower clock and stunning stained-glass chapel windows are among a range of heritage and other buildings undergoing repairs at the historic site, which was home to NSW’s first public hospital.

Historic clock restorer Andrew Markerink has repaired the 1878 clock, which was one of the last to be made by famous German tower clock maker Johann Friederich Weule.

“This clock came to Australia for the 1879 Sydney Exhibition and survived a major fire before serving as the Bourke town clock, before taking up residence at The Coast Hospital at Little Bay where it is installed in a World War II RAAF memorial clock tower.

“It was a privilege to work on this project and bring it back to life. The ingenuity and sheer nature of this clock is a beautiful thing,” Mr Markerink said.

Stained glass window specialist Clive Hillier has restored stained-glass windows in the Coast Chapel, a 1963 memorial to war-time nurses that today serves as an iconic oceanside venue for weddings, christenings and other ceremonies.

“It was a huge job. All the panels had to be removed, lead lining replaced or repaired, fresh putty installed, and stained glass reinstated with cracked glass replaced,” Mr Hillier said.

Crown Lands in the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, which manages 13 buildings at the former Prince Henry hospital precinct, is undertaking the upgrade work.

Today the site and its buildings provide a home for a range of community organisations, as well as green open space for the community.

Repairs and upgrades are also occurring to a range of other buildings, including the Surf Lifesaving Building, Jarrah House, Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council building, The Coast Centre for Seniors, and Henry’s Trading Post.

Little Bay Clock Tower

Returned to working order, the historic Little Bay clock tower is once again, on time.